Make these bakery-worthy, homemade muffins that are super moist and fluffy with the addition of applesauce and made healthier than most by adding zucchini. These veggie-loaded, cinnamon-flavored breakfast treats are the ideal back-to-school snacks for your kids or as easy muffins-to-go for you on hectic weekdays. They are so delicious; eating healthy has never been this good!
With another school year set to start, quick and easy breakfast ideas are essential for moms like me to survive the morning unscathed. That is why I love muffins! They are super easy to make, and the variations are endless. Healthy ingredients are also easy to incorporate, like my Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins and Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins. This recipe tops all that with the addition of zucchini and applesauce, making them healthy and yummy too!
Why you'll love this recipe
- Quick and easy. You can make the batter using only two mixing bowls in 10 minutes. A novice-friendly dish that is guaranteed to come out perfect all the time!
- Healthier than most muffins. This recipe includes the use of shredded zucchini, which adds tons of nutritional benefits like vitamins A and C, antioxidants, minerals, and fibers. These are essential in boosting your immune system, promoting healthy digestion, and improving heart health.
- A great way to sneak veggies into your morning meal. If you are struggling to make your family eat zucchini, this is the best way to do so! Your kids won't even know they are having vegetables first thing in the morning--- they'll be too busy munching to notice!
- The texture is amazing! The applesauce and zucchini give the muffin a lovely texture- moist, soft, and fluffy! Just what a great muffin should be.
Key ingredients and why we use them
Simple baking ingredients and a few wholesome add-ons are all you need. No food stabilizers or artificial flavoring- just everyday ingredients that you can swap to meet various dietary needs!
Zucchini- Summer is the best time to enjoy these! Look for ones that are firm and shiny on the outside and small to medium-sized. Large ones are usually too watery and less firm on the inside, making your batter soggy.
Applesauce- I used unsweetened for this recipe to make sure I get to control the amount of sweetness I like. This is added to the muffins to keep them soft and moist for days! You can use mashed bananas are a replacement. However, you will have to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe.
Ground Cinnamon- gives the muffins a warm, festive flavor making them the perfect fall dessert recipe! You can also use vanilla extract if you prefer.
Heather's helpful hints
- Do not overmix the batter. I usually just mix until no large patches of dry ingredients are visible. If you see a few small lumps, leave them be.
- If you use a dark-colored muffin pan, check on the muffins a few minutes early because they will brown and bake faster. Overbaked muffins are a no-no!
- Let the muffins rest in the pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooking rack. This will give them time to firm up, so they do not fall apart when you take them out.
You will need two mixing bowls, a 12-count muffin pan, and muffin liners. I used tulip-styled baking cups for this recipe. However, you can use any muffin liner you desire. Alternatively, you can forgo the muffin liners and simply grease your muffin tin well.
I also love using an ice cream scoop to ensure each muffin is the same size. You want a scoop with about a quarter-cup size.
Frequently asked questions
Removing the skin is unnecessary because it adds extra work and reduces the nutrients you will get from the zucchini. The skin part is actually more nutritious, and the green specks make the muffins prettier too!
No. The water content on the zucchini makes the muffins moister. You will have dry and tough muffins if you squeeze out the liquid from the zucchini.
It's easy to make these zucchini applesauce muffins!
1. Shred zucchini and combine wet + dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
2. Add zucchini to the batter. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, applesauce, and eggs until smooth. Stir in the zucchini.
3. Combine everything together. Be sure not to overmix the batter at this point!
4. Scoop into muffin liners and bake. Fill each muffin tin ¾ full with batter. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let the muffins cool down before placing them in an airtight container. They can be stored at room temperature for three days or in the fridge for up to 5 days. You may also freeze them for up to 3 months.
It's not a good idea to make your muffin batter in advance. However, baked muffins freeze well, so you can make and freeze them in advance.
This simple recipe opens the door to a wide variety of possibilities! Here are some ideas
Add nuts or berries. Chopped cashew, walnuts, or pecans would add crunch and flavor! If you are allergic to nuts, use sunflower or pumpkin seeds instead. Adding dried berries or raisins will give the Zucchini Applesauce Muffins a pop of sweetness and a chewy texture.
Add chocolate chips. This one is for the chocolate lovers out there! A sprinkling of mini chocolate chips will give you a dose of your sweet fix in the morning.
Make them vegan! To make these muffins vegan-friendly, you can swap out eggs in the recipe with any of these vegan egg substitutes.
Related muffin recipes
- Chocolate Muffins: Made with only five ingredients, this recipe uses box chocolate cake mix and chocolate pudding for a super moist muffin
- Mini Bran Muffins: Packed with wheat bran, applesauce, and brown sugar, these muffins are moist and healthy.
- Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins: a healthier way to enjoy your favorite fall flavor—pumpkin! So grab your cinnamon, cloves, and giver, and let's get started with some fall baking.
Zucchini Applesauce Muffins
- 12-count muffin pan
- muffin liners
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup canola oil
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups zucchini shredded
- Place a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit for 20 minutes before baking your muffins. Line a 12-count muffin pan with liners and set it aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, applesauce, and eggs until smooth. Stir in the zucchini.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir gently to combine. Do NOT overmix the batter.
- Fill each muffin tin ¾ full with batter, Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in a pan before removing them to a cooling rack.
Notes and Tips
- Applesauce: You can swap out oil in a recipe with an equal amount of unsweetened applesauce. You can do this in any ratio you desire. I recommend a one-half oil to one-half applesauce ratio in this recipe.
- Muffin Liners: I used tulip-styled baking cups for this recipe. You can use any muffin liner you desire. Alternatively, you can also forgo the muffin liners and simply grease your muffin tin well.
- Make Ahead: It's not a good idea to make your muffin batter in advance. However, muffins do freeze well, so you can make them and freeze for up to three months in advance.
- Filling Muffin Cups: Fill each muffin tin approximately ¾ full. I like to use a scoop to ensure that each muffin has an equal amount of batter.
Did you make this recipe?! First, let me say THANK YOU for giving it a try!
Please leave us a rating and feedback in the comments section at the bottom of this post. I always love to hear your thoughts and ideas on what went well — and didn't — with a recipe!
I made this recipe with Red Mill 1-1 Gluten Free Flour. I also added only 2/3 sugar. The muffins had a wonderful taste. But, did not firm up. It was difficult to pull the liner off and it was very moist. I kept baking, even up to 35 minutes. I triple checked all the other ingredients.
I really want these muffins to work for me. Any suggestions?
Hi Flo, thanks for commenting and giving this recipe a try! This is a tricky one to troubleshoot, as I haven't used BRM 1-1 flour. This substitution should work fine for you, though. How did the consistency of the batter look? Was it similar to the pictures? If the zucchini is extra juicy, you could squeeze the zucchini through a cheesecloth to drain excess water. My final thought would be using an oven thermometer to make sure you're not baking at a lower temperature. I want these muffins to work for you too—I hope one of these suggestions helps. The muffins are delicious :)
This recipe looks great but......you say to make it vegan swap out the oil. The oil is not the issue. It's the eggs. We have to swap out the eggs to make vegan . Do you have a solution? I would prob use flax seed.....
Hi Donna, you're absolutely right. I would use flaxseed (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water = 1 egg). Let this sit for about 5 minutes until thickened.
Can this be made as a loaf instead? What changes, if any, to recipe ingredients would need to be done to make it a loaf of quick bread??
Hi Norma! Unfortunately, I haven't tested this recipe in a loaf pan, so I can't answer with 100% certainty. However, this article (https://bakeorbreak.com/2019/05/convert-muffins-bread/) gives some great suggestions. Mainly reducing oven temp to 350 and cooking for a longer period, like 45-60 minutes. She actually doesn't suggest any ingredient substitutions. Please let me know if you give this a try!